Tree-mendous trash

THIS is an illustrious day in the Diary’s calendar. It’s time for our proud team to present this year’s very first "Surely It’s Much Too Early To Be Publishing Christmas Stories Christmas Story".

For we can reveal that in the North Merchiston area of Edinburgh a cunning local took advantage of the recent bin strike to dump on the street a Christmas tree, which must have last been in use eight months ago.

The tree looked heart-warmingly festive nestled amongst the black binbags, rotting fruit and rusting tin cans littering the street.

(Okay, that’s our first Crimbo yarn out of the way. Now brace yourself, faithful reader. Next week we hope to bring you a lovey-dovey tale celebrating Valentine’s Day 2023…)

Peak performance

A Diary discussion about newspaper headlines reminds reader Gordon Casely of working on the Evening Express in Aberdeen in the late 1960s when the paper reported that strongman Kenny Campbell from Beauly had managed to carry/shove/push a harmonium up Ben Nevis for charity.

His ultimate aim was to play it at the peak, then dismantle and set it alight. (Thus saving him the bother of having to carry/shove/push a harmonium down Ben Nevis.)

Meanwhile, the Evening Express was in a quandary. How to report this thrilling caper? "Harmonium" was clearly too long a word for a headline.

Yet the editorial staff were meticulous in their application. For not once did anyone suggest the obvious title, which would be: "Kenny pushes his organ up Ben Nevis".

Weather blether

MYSTIFIED reader Samantha Collins gets in touch to ask: “Before golf balls were invented how did people measure the size of hailstones?”

Language lesson

EDUCATIONAL adventures, continued. Reader David Donaldson’s son once went on a school trip to Italy. In a cafe on the Venice Lido a group of teachers asked him if he’d mind ordering them some drinks. This he obligingly did, though it took him a long time to recover from the humiliation of strolling over to the bar and requesting: "Three Lambrettas per favore."

Pongy poem

WE continue celebrating IZAL toilet roll and the rhymes that once appeared on its squares of paper, ensuring that the cludgie had both exquisite odes and excremental odours.

Talking of which, Donald Ritchie of Gourock recalls one refreshing rhyme that went:

"Ding dong bell,

Pussy's in the well,

No need to worry,

IZAL kills the smell."

One to chew over

COMMERCIALLY-minded reader Dan Mosley says: “When shops sell chewing gum, shouldn’t they promote it as being in mint condition?”

Read more: A smooth operator in the cost of living crisis